||Today I will write two columns, do the Diner, answer 50 pieces of mail, do the Hewitt show, and work on the novel. So saith me at 11:32 AM.
1:56 PM At the office, or rather in the coffee shop. The paper’s food section is next to me, and it has a quote at the top:
“Sharing food is with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” M. L. K. Fisher.
Criminey. Look, I like a good meal as much as the next fellow, but it’s not some sort of sacred ritual. The hamburger does not actually turn into the Body of Bossie when I eat it. (Because, of course, it always in. Meat! The Transubstantiation’s built right in!) People have a hole in the soul-spot, and they’re going to fill it with religion, politics, art or food. Preferable a nice balanced combination of all four, but we all know someone who chose one and has no room for the other three. The people who worship food – “foodies,” to use a term that makes my skin crawl – are the least interesting zealots imaginable, because in the end it’s just grub. Well, actually, in the end end, it’s much worse. I’m all for good healthy diverse food, but the minute someone starts talking about ritual and connections and elemental truths I want to shove a Space Food Stick up their nose. Taken lightly? Ever eaten with a five-year old lately?
That said, I do believe in the family meal, and I’ll be switched if we all graze at our own schedules. But this has nothing to do with food itself; it’s about getting the family together to share something. If we were eating small bowls of Soylent puce nutri-paste I’d insist on the same thing.
Today Gnat does not take the bus; she stays after school. Since I was gripped with the fear she would get on the bus and end up wandering around some distant neighborhood, followed by wolves and crows, I told the school office and the after-school program AND sent a note with her bag. But what if the teacher didn’t see it? Well, she would. And besides, Gnat knew she was supposed to stay after school.
After I’d gotten her off I noticed that she’d forgotten her gym shoes. Or rather I had forgotten to put them in her bag. Ah hah! I would have to drive over to the school, then – which, by some happy coincidence, would let me remind the teacher. It’s always nice when paranoia and smothering parenting intersect with actual responsibilities.
The teacher knew, of course; Gnat had informed her the moment she bounded into the classroom.
Running out of juice; only did 39 letters. But the day is still young. Must pow
9:47 er down. Hah! I lost battery power, which was my cue to leave. Went downstairs to the newsroom hive; it was Thursday Snackfest in the Source editor’s area, and I wandered by to see if any jerky could be had. (It could not.) Everyone was casting votes on new comics to replace Boondocks. It’s going on indefinite hiatus; the strain of drawing three panels of oversized TV sets illustrating sixteen consecutive “Brokeback” jokes has taken its toll, and the creator is stepping away for a while. The options were grim. You have no idea how many lame, derivative and unfunny strips the syndicates have – and those are the ones that got the syndie deals. Made me appreciate “Chickwood Lane” all the more, even though it annoys me for some reason. (It seems basted in its own self-regard. Still read it, though.) The editor had looked at the column I recommended, but said it wasn’t syndicated yet. It goes without saying that the brilliant Achewood comic cannot be featured in a family paper, and Penny Arcade would never bother to recalibrate its language just to be in the paper. I say that without sarcasm, incidentally: “being in the paper” isn’t the high holy calling it once was. Why should it be? There’s something about shooting for the mass market that blandifies comics into tepid farina. “Get Fuzzy” works, as does “Pearls Before Swine,” but they’re rare.
Got Gnat, went home, made fish, walked dog, got everything ready for the Hewitt show; I was going to do an impersonation of a correspondent who’d called Imus and sounded completely baked. But! They forgot to call me. Great. Grrr. Turned off the radio, did the Diner. To repeat: these are not scripted, which should be obvious; I start with one topic and find the music and FX to move the story on. The idea for this one arrived intact – I knew where it would go, so that made it easy to do.
The main page with the cool version that has embedded chapter art is here; you can use this page to subscribe to the feed as well. Those who’ve subscribed to the show via iTunes will have it provided automatically, of course. As is inexplicably usual, hit the archive page for the newest podcast; it's called "Limpet Au Gratin."
The boring old MP3 version is here.
Sound levels should be better; I’ve been doing more *$(%@# tweaking and adding some compression. At least the sound level should be constant, so nothing destroys your eardrums.
So: one column to go, 11 letters, and some novel. And it’s only 10 PM! Enjoy the Diner; thanks for the patronage this week, and I’ll see you Monday.